We can get so caught up in doctrines, traditions and beliefs and how we disagree about all the details. I do not mean to down play any of these. They have there place and for many form a foundation and base for their life. But I did want to discuss that Christ, did not come to form a religion, but a way of life.
Life is about relationships. The relationship we have with God, others and even ourselves. How do we relate to real people in real life. We must get out of the “Them”, “Those” and “us” mentalities and realize we are all in this life together. We need each other. I need you and you need me. We are part of something bigger than me, us or ours. We may disagree on many ideas but God did not command I agree with you, but God did command that I love and care about you.
We make a difference by how we relate and interact to and with each other. Unfortunately this is probably one of the greatest failures of the church today. We allow our differences to affect how we relate and love each other.
Yesterday, I was reading Isaiah 58:6-9, where God is sharing what kind of spiritual practice God is looking for us to do:
6-9“This is the kind of fast day I’m after:
to break the chains of injustice,
get rid of exploitation in the workplace,
free the oppressed,
What I’m interested in seeing you do is:
sharing your food with the hungry,
inviting the homeless poor into your homes,
putting clothes on the shivering ill-clad,
being available to your own families.
Do this and the lights will turn on,
and your lives will turn around at once.
Your righteousness will pave your way.
The God of glory will secure your passage.
Then when you pray, God will answer.
You’ll call out for help and I’ll say, ‘Here I am.’
9-12“If you get rid of unfair practices,
quit blaming victims,
quit gossiping about other people’s sins,
If you are generous with the hungry
and start giving yourselves to the down-and-out,
Your lives will begin to glow in the darkness,
your shadowed lives will be bathed in sunlight.
I will always show you where to go.
I’ll give you a full life in the emptiest of places—
firm muscles, strong bones.
You’ll be like a well-watered garden,
a gurgling spring that never runs dry.
You’ll use the old rubble of past lives to build anew,
rebuild the foundations from out of your past.
You’ll be known as those who can fix anything,
restore old ruins, rebuild and renovate,
make the community livable again.
It really doesn’t matter what we preach, or what we believe, it only matters how we live it out. How do we relate to those hurting, hungry. Do we allow the daily challenges of our life to lift us up or knock us down. How do we relate to those who seem to be committed to pushing our buttons. How do we relate to those who are different from us. Do we only love those who are the same as us. It does appear this is what many believe. I am not Muslim, but I do love Muslim people. I am not Republican, but I do love people who are. I am not transgender, but I love those who are, because I see in all people, the image of God. In all of humanity, there is that image, that Glory, no matter how they differ from us or how broken they seem to be. Thats why Christ gave us two commands. The first is to Love, the second is NOT to judge. When the church gets better at living out these two commands, we will be the church Christ has called us to be.